What’s the difference between 해 and 살 and 년?? They all mean year(s), right?

Eg. 세 살 or 다섯 해 or 매년

I figure the first is more general, the second is for age and the third is for phrases like the above, ‘every year’. Am I close?

1 Answer 1


년 :

1) counting year

2002년 월드컵 Wolrd cup at 2002 year

나는 1997년이 되면 10살이 된다 I will be ten yeas old at 1997

2) 년 = 365 days

몇 년동안 공부했니 ? How many years do you spend for your study ?

해 :

1) during 365 days

올 해안에 돈 벌수 있을까 ? Can I earn money in this year ?

해가 바뀌다. This year is gone.

2) 365 days

몇 년동안 공부했니 ? = 몇 해동안 공부했니 ?

살 : counting age

너는 몇살이니 ? How old are you ?

  • 1
    NOTE When you can use either or , you would want to stick to in most cases. Using as a unit word sounds literary and even a bit archaic. Sep 9, 2018 at 14:58
  • I would not want to stick to 년. Why do you think ?
    – HK Lee
    Sep 9, 2018 at 15:03
  • Because you cannot use everywhere. While its use is limited, is almost universal. The two are not interchangeable in nuance and usage. 십 년만 지나도 - 열 해만 지나도; 공부를 시작한 지 삼 년 정도 됐죠. - 공부를 시작한 지 세 해 정도 됐죠. You see what is awkward in these, don't you? I won't say they don't make sense, but they don't sound familiar to me. Sep 9, 2018 at 15:19
  • It would be no problem to use at all if you can manage to catch the subtle nuance differences, but if you can't, the easy way to go is just sticking to the more universal one. Sep 9, 2018 at 15:26

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